Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell to 15,572 in January, the lowest for that month since 2007.
A spokesman for the Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation said historically, seasonal layoffs cause claims to rise from November through January but those increases are now tapering off more quickly than in recent years.
Chief Economist Bill Anderson said there were 18,122 initial claims in December and January’s total was more than 14 percent lower than that number. He said that’s the largest December-to-January decrease since 2003.
Initial claims, he said, are closely related to the number of people who have recently lost their jobs and tend to increase on a seasonal basis during the fall and winter months, then decline during spring and summer.
Initial claims peaked at 36,414 in December 2008, the peak of the recession.